To quote Billy Lawry, it's all over at the Sydney Cricket Ground. India will have to wait another three years to attempt a maiden Test series win in Australia. With eight wickets in hand and two days to bat, only individual milestones had some bearing as India went into Day Three of the second Test match yesterday. But, even that slightest piece of compensation couldn't be achieved.
Sachin Tendulkar at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday.
Sachin Tendulkar fell 20 short of his hundredth international ton. VVS Laxman could not equal Wally Hammond's record of four successive centuries at the SCG. Eventually, India were bowled out for 400 -- a total they hadn't achieved in 21 innings in overseas Tests. Australia completed a crushing victory by an innings and 68 runs. But, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy hasn't been retained just yet.
Gautam Gambhir and Tendulkar were fed with some rare loose bowling to start. Gambhir ran one down to the third man fence with ease, punched one off the backfoot, and looked more like the Gambhir of 2008-09. Tendulkar too played some nice shots behind square. India picked off 53 runs from the first seven overs -- a rollicking start. But, it was Australia's 'enforcer' Peter Siddle who once again provided the breakthrough when he removed Gambhir in his first over.
It was eight past 11 in the morning when Laxman and Tendulkar got together, perhaps for the last time at their favourite ground outside India. Laxman felt the wrath of a rising ball from Siddle that thud into his knuckles. He continued to play and miss, was even dropped by Brad Haddin on 0. But, Nathan Lyon's introduction saw him release the pressure with a trademark flick.
Laxman ends run drought
Soon, Laxman ended his run drought against Siddle with a beautiful cover drive. Tendulkar brought up his 65th fifty with a glorious glance down fine leg. But, Siddle kept drawing him forward with a top length and a touch of reverse. It was a fascinating contest. Just minutes before tea, Tendulkar executed a cheeky upper cut that just about cleared Michael Clarke at first slip. Tendulkar took 66 balls for his final 35 runs -- a perfectly acceptable scoring rate that drew criticism from Ian Chappell and Sourav Ganguly. He fell while prodding at a well-flighted ball from Clarke, and caught at first slip by Michael Hussey. His dismissal triggered the end as India lost four wickets for just 15 runs.
Laxman was clean bowled by arguably the ball of the match by Ben Hilfenhaus. It was the perfect length that pitched on off stump and held its line. Virat Kohli was trapped lbw by Pattinson. R Ashwin struck 62 off 76 balls, and Zaheer Khan 35 off 26 before Hilfenhaus completed his second fifer of the series.